Friday, April 19, 2013

Trickle-down Effect

Yesterday each of my children took their turns expressing their frustrations in an unhealthy way...

Some of them had to redo schoolwork- that's always a frustration.

Some were frustrated because nobody was listening to them.

... and others were frustrated at their amount of school work.

Despite their frustrating moments, they still cleaned the whole house, did their school work, practiced their instruments, and even played in the rain on the trampoline.

We decided to finish the day off with a dance party!!  We danced our hearts out for a few minutes.  Then Tyson (mistakenly) stomped on Jordan's foot.  Jordan rolled around howling with pain.  I ignored him for a moment because I figured he was just being dramatic...  Finally, I went to check on him.  The moment I said, "Are you Ok?"  He stopped crying and was better.  Grrrr... I hate drama.

After that he ran after Tyson and jumped on him for stomping on his foot.  Then I became frustrated that our dance party wasn't happy anymore, so I turned off the music and scolded everyone.  I told them to come kneel down for prayer; we were all going to bed.

One of the children knelt down and angrily punched the couch. I explained to the children that they are teaching their crazy behavior to each other.  I told them it starts with the oldest and moves right down the line- trickling down to each child.  Right then, Juliana (who is only 2 and never has any clue what we're talking about) walked over to the couch, punched it, and knelt down for prayer just as her older brother had done.

We couldn't help but laugh because it proved my point.  As I was teaching the children that the behavior is passed down the line starting with the oldest, a thought came into my mind, "Maybe it started with you... "  I responded to myself, "No... that couldn't be it.  I'm the parent.  They only learn the good behaviors I demonstrate.  I have a right to scold and show my frustration a little bit so that they actually listen to me."  Of course the thought returned again, and the scripture in Matthew 7:3 came loud and clear into my mind:

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

Hmmm....  I hate to admit that maybe I was at the top of the waterfall that was trickling down to each of the children.  The dance party was going great.  I could have disciplined only the children involved, but I took the party away from everyone. :(  I believe that was an unhealthy act of frustration that I displayed, but I didn't want to admit it right away.

It took a moment; but as we knelt in prayer, I tried hard to push away my own frustrations and asked the children (Abe was still at work) to talk about their favorite parts of the day.

As we spoke of our happiness, our frustrations melted away, and we were happy again!!  That felt like a very healthy response to frustration!  With happy hearts returning, we decided we would finish our dance party the following night instead.

I hate being so imperfect... I really do!!!  I had to accept that God was not saying: "Rachel you're a failure!  Look at your own self!"  I believe HE was telling me there is room for improvement, and there's still time to teach better behavior and better responses in future frustrating situations.

I'm grateful that even when we're frustrated, the Holy Ghost, who has been sent to us to guide us, doesn't just run away because we're not holy.  The Holy Ghost will continue to try to teach us better behavior; we just have to work harder to listen.

Boston Marathon

I feel driven to express that my heart aches for the tragic happenings in the Boston area.  We continue to pray for all those in the area including Abe's sister who lives there.  As hate continues to grow and fester in people's hearts, I pray that love will overpower that hate- especially in our families.